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Northern Kentucky high school softball coaches select Player of the Year in three divisions

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Ryle senior shortstop Maclai Branson, one of the leading hitters in Kentucky high school softball, was voted Division I Player of the Year by the Northern Kentucky Softball Coaches Association.

Maclai Branson

Branson finished the regular season with a .608 batting average (45 of 74) that would rank among the top 10 in the state, according to statistics posted on the khsaa.org websiteThe University of Kentucky recruit would also rank among the state top 10 in home runs (12), slugging percentage (1.243), runs scored (51) and on-base percentage (.677).

This is the fourth consecutive year that Branson has been a first-team Division I selection in the local coaches voting. Last year, she was also named first-team all-state and selected to play in the Kentucky junior all-star game. Her father, Jeff, once played for the Cincinnati Reds and is now a hitting coach with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Simon Kenton freshman pitcher Macy Krohman was second in the Division I Player of the Year voting. She’s batting .614 (43 of 70) and leads the state in both home runs (15) and slugging percentage (1.442) going into the post-season playoffs.  Her pitching stats include an 11-5 record with 108 strikeouts and 1.70 earned run average.

The other Player of the Year awards went to Highlands junior Rachel Gabbard in Division II and Calvary Christian junior Olivia Palasek in Division III.

The coaches association also recognized outstanding defensive players with Gold Glove Awards and selected four seniors to receive $500 in college scholarship money. The scholarship winners are Jaydah of Holmes, Lexy Breen of Newport Central Catholic, Taylor Peterson of Campbell County and Alyson Poore of Walton-Verona.

Player of the Year –
Maclai Branson (Ryle).
First team — Macy Krohman (Simon Kenton), Kaylee McGinn (Dixie Heights), Hannah Bishop (Ryle), Kayari Suganuma (Notre Dame), Dylan Scott (Cooper), McKinlee Miller (Campbell County), Shelby Wright (Boone County), Abby Joering (Campbell County), Merrin Kelly (Scott).
Second team — Jessica Walsh (Campbell County), Olivia Jackson (Boone County), Ashley Leight (Campbell County), Ava Meier (Dixie Heights), Morgan Smith (Ryle), Alex Dummit (Cooper), Tori Connelly (Conner), Olivia Meier (Notre Dame).

Player of the Year – Rachel Gabbard (Highlands).
First team — Ashley Pollard (St. Henry), Lexy Breen (Newport Central Catholic), Kacy Zimmerman (Newport Central Catholic), Josie Daley (Highlands), Natalie Sparling (Holy Cross), Maycie Walker (Grant County), Brooke Dill (Highlands), Madison Kennedy (Lloyd), Addisyn Michael (Walton–Verona).
Second team — Maddie Kramer (Brossart), Jenna Fryer (Newport Central Catholic), Kendall Blau (Walton-Verona), Morgan Barnes (Newport), Carlie Townsend (St. Henry ), Kaycee Fogt (St. Henry), Kaitlin Turner (Holy Cross), Faith Alford (Walton-Verona), Kyleigh Lawhun (Grant County).

Player of the Year —
Olivia Palasek (Calvary Christian).
First team — Anna Wagner (Villa Madonna), Brooke Meier (Villa Madonna), Megan Downard (Dayton), Emma Donelan (Dayton), Destiny Wallace (Williamstown), Grace Workman (Dayton), Bella Slone (Ludlow), Reagan Atwood (Bellevue), Savanna Schwartz (Calvary Christian).
Second team — Arianna Dotson (Bellevue), Corrine Borchers (Villa Madonna), Delaney Kemper (Williamstown), Kat Berberich (Covington Latin), Jailyn Garrett (Ludlow), Marianna Rozel (Covington Latin), Alyssa Wilson (Williamstown), Jacy VonShoubroek (Calvary Christian), Alexis Leger (Bellevue).

P — Ashley Leicht (Campbell County). C — Serena Paterno (Notre Dame), Becca Mitchell (Campbell County). 1B — Erika Skiles (Conner). 2B — Kayari Suganuma (Notre Dame). 3B — Addie Mack ( Highlands). SS — Lexy Breen (NewCath). OF — Megan Burkart (NewCath), Olivia Meier (Notre Dame), McKinlee Miller (Campbell County), Madeline Morgan (Ryle), Kara Zimmerman (NewCath).


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